A second chance in optics

Those who fall foul of the law endure not only the time they serve behind bars, but also the societal stigma that comes after. One optical practice, however, is helping to give them a second chance by introducing them to optics. Sean Rai-Roche reports

Prison. The very thought of it sends shudders down the spine. But for those who find themselves incarcerated, the pain does not stop upon their release. So great is the stigma towards ex-prisoners that many find themselves starved of opportunities, understanding and, most importantly, a second chance.

The proven reoffending rate for those incarcerated for 12 months in 2016 was a staggering 63.8%, according to a government report into prisons. Not only does this speak volumes about the effectiveness of the prison service to ‘rehabilitate’, but it is also illustrative of our inability, as a society, to provide viable alternatives for offenders.

Maidstone-based Pen Optical, however, has been giving offenders the education and skills they need to be able to re-join society in a positive and constructive way by teaching them about optics.

Wasted talent

‘When you don’t get given the opportunities that other people are getting, you find other means of earning a living,’ says Tanjit Dosanjh, founder and CEO of Pen Optical. ‘Sometimes it’s drugs, which then often comes with gang culture and weapons, taking you into a life of crime.’

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